In a world where working remotely has become the norm, companies are spending more resources on virtual assistants to help them be more productive and cost-efficient.
But what exactly are virtual assistants? What do they do? What are their top use cases?
In this article, we discuss what virtual assistants are and what they can do for your business across various use cases and industries. Read on!
Virtual Assistants Defined
A virtual assistant is an independent worker that assists businesses with administrative, developmental, social media, marketing, or other tasks. Companies and business owners use their services to save time and money, allowing them to focus their resources and energy on growing their businesses.
Note that virtual assistants in this context are different from “intelligent virtual assistants,” which are more closely related to chatbots and perform tasks using algorithms and AI rather than human skills. Examples of smart virtual assistants include Siri, Alexa, and Cortana.
Meanwhile, human virtual assistants mainly work remotely, often in a home office. Some of them work as freelancers, while many are part of a company or agency that helps you find a flexible workforce. When working with a virtual assistant company, you mainly interface with a project or account manager, who helps you find the best resources.
Administrative Tasks and Customer Service
Virtual assistants are most commonly hired for administrative tasks. These include booking travels, organizing schedules, and answering phone calls.
Companies that offer products or services also use virtual assistants to support their customer service needs. The assistants become the customers’ first point of contact for troubleshooting tasks or to receive feedback. They can provide tutorials if needed. If they can’t help a customer’s specific concern, they may escalate the matter to the appropriate person.
Tasks like data entry can also fall under administrative tasks. Virtual assistants can compile data, check for accuracy, and update records and databases. The top virtual assistant companies almost always offer this service.
Moreover, although virtual assistants are more commonly hired to help with business processes, they also do tasks outside of work — they can attend to personal needs like booking vacations, organizing personal calendars, and buying gifts for friends and family members.
Marketing and Social Media Management
Businesses that don’t have internal marketing teams often hire virtual assistants to help them with their marketing efforts. These tasks may include social media content production and online content management.
The assistants help you manage your social media engagements; they can respond to comments and feedback about your product or services when your internal staff can’t. If you’re using editorial content, virtual assistants can contribute to the lengthy process of content production, publishing, and analytics.
If you need qualified leads, they can help research leads on platforms like LinkedIn to list potential clients. They can find email addresses and create presentations you can use when pitching to leads.
Business Finances and HR
Apart from bookkeeping, virtual assistants can further augment your finance and HR workforce when they take on tasks like invoice creation and basic payroll management. They help you facilitate a great invoicing process by tracking the produce or service you offered, outlining your prices and expected payments, and outlining the terms of payments.
They can also take on the labor-intensive process of payroll management. This isn’t only about your staff’s salary; it encompasses things like employee deductions, bonuses, incentives, overtime pays, taxes, and more.
Hiring a virtual assistant to handle such finance-related tasks also helps you comply with various legislations protecting your employees’ rights. The assistant ensures the employees’ salaries and other compensation arrive on time.
If necessary, virtual assistants can handle more complex HR-related tasks, such as employee training and management. On top of that, they can speed up your recruitment process, helping you find the best candidates for any role in your company much faster.